Some of EVRAZ’s pipeline steel makes its way to a worksite (Photo: EVRAZ).

Will members of all Canadian political parties soon demand that we halt the TMX pipeline expansion project? 

I ask because, with the current great power tension in Ukraine likely to reach some kind of a climax soon, we are already hearing fierce calls in Canada for severe and even warlike sanctions against Russia for any aggression against its neighbour.

United Conservative Party MLA Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk (Photo: UCP Caucus).

More sanctions will probably happen no matter what Russia does, even if the invasion of Ukraine that has been predicted daily in Western media and political circles for weeks does not materialize, as is possible, even likely. 

But I wonder if anyone in the Canadian Parliament or the Alberta Legislature has paused to think, even for a moment, what the impact of economic sanctions could be on Canada’s ability to complete the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project?

After all, way back in 2017 it was decided that 75 per cent of the pipe for the expansion project, which is now well under way, would come from the EVRAZ North America steel plant in Regina. 

And EVRAZ, whether or not it is technically a Russian corporation, is substantially Russian owned and potentially could be impacted by any program of sanctions aimed at Russia or Russians by Canada and the United States – something that appears to have been completely forgotten in the stampede by Canadian politicians of all stripes to demand harsh penalties for Russia over what’s going on in Ukraine.

Yes, EVRAZ listed shares on the London Stock Exchange in 2011, meaning it can be seen as a British company if you squint your eyes and look at it from just the right angle. 

Regardless, though, EVRAZ was founded in Russia in 1992 as Evraz Metall. More than 60 per cent of its shares are owned by three Russian men who probably meet the definition of oligarch as used in Western media. Its operations are principally in Russia, as well as former Soviet republics including Ukraine, plus Czechia, Italy, South Africa, the United States, and Canada. 

EVRAZ acquired the former IPSCO Inc. steel plant in Regina in 2008, after IPSCO had been sold the year before by its Canadian owners to a Swedish concern. Instead of closing it down, EVRAZ has operated the plant since as part of its EVRAZ North America unit. The company also has smaller operations in Red Deer, Camrose, Calgary, and Edmonton. 

Edmonton Strathcona NDP Member of Parliament Heather McPherson (Photo: Facebook/Heather McPherson).

Demand for the company’s tubular product has been low, and the Regina plant experienced major layoffs late in 2020. So even if all the pipe for TMX has been finished, there are still those jobs to think about.

So I wonder if Alberta’s United Conservative Party gave any thought to this before it published a news release Friday that quoted caucus member Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk saying, “should Russia move to invade Ukraine, whether it be a minor incursion or a full-scale invasion, we support Canada imposing the strongest sanctions possible against Russia and evoking any other actions necessary to blunt Russian force.”

Ms. Armstrong-Homeniuk, the UCP MLA for Fort-Saskatchewan-Vegreville, is also the chair of the Advisory Council on Alberta-Ukraine Relations.

While the next few days may reveal what Russia plans to do in Ukraine, if anything, it’s said here that the famous Pottery Barn Rule – “you break it, you buy it”enunciated in 2002 by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell as he tried to talk President George W. Bush out of invading Iraq makes a Russian invasion of Ukraine unlikely. 

“You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people,” the New York Times reported that the late Secretary Powell warned Mr. Bush, speaking of Iraq. “You will own all their hopes, aspirations, and problems. You’ll own it all.”

Ukraine is all but a failed state, a fact that cannot be blamed entirely on Russia, and surely the Russian government wants neither the heartache nor the expense of sorting it out. 

The late Colin Powell, American secretary of state, who tried to warn President George W. Bush of the dangers of invading Iraq (Photo: United States Department of State).

The Russians most likely think that job is best left to the people they accuse of causing Ukraine’s current problems, principally Canada’s big neighbour to the south.

But if the Americans insist on eventually allowing Ukraine to join NATO, letting the alliance permanently station troops on its territory, and even park nuclear weapons there, a few minutes by rocket from Moscow, or if Ukrainian military formations that have threatened ethnic cleansing invade the Russian-speaking Donbas region now in the hands of rebel governments, it is a fact of geopolitical life that Russia will do something about it – just as the United States was prepared to do something about Soviet nuclear missiles parked in Cuba.

I can recall living through a few fairly tense days as a result of that situation in the fall of 1962, before it was settled, thankfully, through diplomacy. In those days, of course, the United States had a reasonably sensible president, and a capable diplomatic corps.

We need some sensible and mature diplomacy now too, rather than the chest thumping Canadian politicians of all stripes – even New Democrats like Edmonton’s two NDP MPs, sad to say – have been engaging in. This may be good politics, but it’s not good for Canada, or for that matter for Ukraine. 

As one of the New York Times’ most conservative voices wrote Saturday: “… in geopolitics good intentions are always downstream from the realities of power.

“Whatever its desires or ours,” said columnist Ross Douthat, “the government in Ukraine has simply never been in a position to fully join the West – it’s too economically weak, too internally divided and simply in the wrong place.”

He concluded: “I would be somewhat relieved – as an American citizen, not just an observer of international politics – to see our leaders acknowledge as much, rather than holding out the idea that someday we might be obliged by treaty to risk a nuclear war over the Donbas.”

Well, at least the UCP isn’t yet calling for nuclear war with Russia. That would be an exchange, one imagines, from which Canada and Alberta would not emerge unscathed, if they emerged at all. 

But maybe they’re OK with the idea of showing Russia a thing or two by stopping the TMX expansion! 

Join the Conversation

40 Comments

  1. Well, this just shows how complex this situation is, or has become. Who would have thought what is happening in eastern Europe could have an impact on the TMX pipeline?

    I don’t know how the eastern European situation will resolve itself, but I do have some thoughts about how it might go. They sort of rest on whether Putin is as smart as often portrayed. Of that, I am not sure, but he has survived and hung in so far, so that leads me to think he must be somewhat sharp.

    So, he must know if Russian troops cross into Ukraine, it will give the west a reason to send a bunch of troops into nearby countries, impose more severe sanctions on Russia and perhaps open the pipeline for weapons to flow to any remaining armed resistance in Ukraine. This is a trifecta of things he surely does not want.

    Ukraine has been an independent country for over 30 years now and while it has struggled at times, there is now more than a generation who have grown up there with it as an independent country. So, I don’t think the old Soviet federation is coming back, its too late for that. I suspect the Russian leaders realize that too, even if there is some nostalgia for past times.

  2. Canada’s foreign policy seems to be steered largely by powerful diaspora groups who have taken over Global Affairs and by mining companies headquartered in Canada who operate like “ecobandits” abroad.
    Taking the Maple Leaf off of my backpack, our ” brand” is starting to suck.

  3. What we do not want to see is another world war happen. This may likely go ahead, if things keep escalating like they are. Who will be the winners in that?

    1. Well, its anyone’s guess, but when you consider who got richer during this never-ending Covid pandemic, I think we know who, historically, gets rich in never-ending war games either, and as Sonny Bono’s song goes: “It ain’t me babe”!

      So, my unsolicited opinion, as long as there are riches to be gained by the chosen few, these upheavals will continue unabated.

    2. A nuclear war is the way to quickly reduce the human population to below Mother Earth’s sustainability abilities.
      The trouble is, in Barry McGuire’s song ‘Eve of Destruction “there will no one to save when the whole world is a grave”.
      One has to wonder if this nuclear holocaust scenario is why former missile silos are being converted to refuge bunkers by the moneyed ilk.
      DJF

  4. Those politicians bearing #StandWithUkraine signs popping up everywhere are truly nauseating. Probably coerced into it by Ms. Freeland (her grandpa was a Ukrainian collaborator during WW2 who edited a Nazi newspaper just down the road from Auschwitz, doncha know). But this is the age we live in, government by photo-ops which liberals play so well.

    Sad to see the NDP going along. I miss the days when a Svend Robinson would be heckling Ronald Reagan giving a speech in parliament. Liberals see themselves as the natural administrators of the world, enveloping the world in a soulless grey mist. The only difference between them and the cons is they are more likely to have a casual Friday at the office. The NDP are like those zealously efficient office temps, hoping to land that permanent gig one day.

    What’s next in this degenerate state of affairs? Trudeau and company appearing in phot-ops wearing Azov gear? Why not? We already know Canadian military assistance is going to these self proclaimed neo-Nazi crazies in the Azov Battalion. You can get them here.

    https://www.spreadshirt.ca/shop/design/wolfsangel+azov+battalion+ukraine+sword+wolf+ancho+mens+t-shirt-D5abe41cf5d52cd4afa0013d8?sellable=74J29Ew43nfYjmN77wgY-210-7

  5. Putin deserves a drone up his ass and I hope the Anericans put one there. Canada, natually, is too pathetic to accomplish anything like that. But sure, stop the pipeline, that’ll stick it to Russia…

    1. You are obviously a very tough individual judging by your “talk”. I am sure the Ukranian Army could use a tough guy like you in the front ranks. Hop on a plane and volunteer.Fight for freedom. Most Americans couldn’t find the Ukraine on a map let alone know that kiev was once the principal city of the Rus, How would you or the Americans feel about Russian missles and military bases in Mexico. What would the Americans do? I’ll answer for you. The same as what the Russians are doing.

      It is a known fact to me that the people that beat the war drum the hardest aren’t the one’s doing the fighting. Now you know why Putin was so anxious to have Trump elected as president. The Americans are a divided nation now and it’s getting worse not better.The Supreme court no longer administer’s Justice, the Senate is paralyzed,Q has made it’s way into the Congress. The Police are armed to the teeth and are out of control. Tucker Carlson and Fox news are like Joseph Goebbels and the Nazi Propaganda Ministry,spewing misinformation and hate to keep the uninformed agitated. We are still in the pandemic and a large part of the population refuses to get vaccinated with America leading the way in deaths.
      The last thing the world needs is another war. Russia is not Afghanistan,for those that say Russia won’t fight because they can’t afford a war…China has lot’s of money.

  6. The biggest problem with applying sanctions against Russia is that they are leaky as hell. Russian oligarchs are financiers worth hundreds of billions, with significant assets all over the world. Hard sanctions would pretty much arrest much economic activity, likely seizing up the LSE. As much as the US wants to put Putin in his place, it may not happen during his lifetime.

    So, this only leaves a shooting war, which is a prospect the US is sick and tired of. Why is Canada so deeply involved in the Ukraine? Because the other NATO partners, the UK and Germany, have taken a pass. Canada being the good US client state is all in.

    Good luck with that.

  7. On a side note, let’s round up these supervaxxers and jail them. Omicron wouldnt be in Canada if the fully vaxxed didnt INSIST on travelling. Every Omicron death is on the backs of the fully vaxxed and I say we make em pay for it. LOCK THEM UP LOCK THEM UP LOCK THEM UP. Seriously though, you’re all shills for big pharma. How may BILLIONS has Pfizer paid in fines since 2000 for LYING about their products? Just try to jab me with a booster and I swear to fake-jesus that I’ll burn the entire country to the ground. Have a great day losers.

    1. Not enough courage to identify himself. Hence the brave rant.

  8. Dear Mr. Climenhega. As a regular reader and occasion contributor, I am deeply dismayed by your apologetic tone for Russia and their belligerent actions. So big bad Ukraine is going to invade Russia – really? No mention of Russia encroaching on the established borders of Ukraine through proxy (and not so proxy) fighters. If Ukraine is close to a failed state, it is your Russian friends who are squarely to blame for their continuous interference and destabilization of the country.

    My suggestion, stay in your swim lane and keep your commentary to Alberta politics.

    1. Whoa John,

      I see no mention in DJC’s post about Ukraine invading Russia. Maybe as a regular reader you’ve read something I haven’t but nor have I read this in any other of his blog posts.

      “…to blame for their continuous interference and destabilization of the country.” What the Hell do you call the Maidan coup to remove an elected President? Victoria Nuland with her $5B investment in changing the Ukraine gov’t, directing who will be the next president of Ukraine, or her “Fuck the EU” statement? Or Joe Biden bragging on video of forcing Ukraine to remove their chief prosecutor, who coincidentally was getting ready to investigate Hunter Biden? What is that if it isn’t “interference and destabilization” of a country which wasn’t doing very well but was at least somewhat stable?

      “My suggestion, stay in your swim lane and keep your commentary to Alberta politics.” Methinks John, that you just don’t like reading opinions with which you don’t agree. What’s the use of just repeating the crap we are already bombarded with by the MSM – try to think up something rational, or at least objective…

  9. On December 7, 2021 a member of “the world’s greatest deliberative body” was quoted in mississippifreepress.org
    “United States Senator Roger Wicker, the second highest Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee said the United States cannot rule out any option for responding to Russian aggression in Ukraine__including sending in ground troops or even a nuclear strike. ‘Military action could mean we stand off our ships in the Black Sea and we rain military destruction on Russian military capability. It could mean that we participate, I would not rule that out, I would not rule out American troops on the ground. We don’t rule out first strike nuclear action.'”
    Pearl Harbor Day, no less.

  10. I understand TC Energy has a lot of pipe sitting around!

  11. Ms. McPherson’s Facebook picture reminds me of the young women who went around giving white feathers to military aged men who had yet to sign up to join the wholly pointless slaughter of World War One.

    I had hoped for better from the NDP.

  12. Some thoughts,

    I agree w DJs assertion that Russia will not invade Ukraine. Basically everyone in Russia has said as much and the much mentioned “masses” of troops are hundreds of kilometres within RUSSIA and even NATO says that they would need 3x the ground forces for a conventional “taking” of Ukraine.

    If they do, they’ll likely just use their very excellent missiles and Air Force to bomb the country to glass before any Russian boots touch the soil. Over in minutes.

    They could also do this to specific divisions within Ukraine, like the neo nazi azov and right sector.

    Sanctions will be “targeted” to individuals & families. As pointed out in this blog post and by other commenters, Russia’s wealth is VAST, it’s parked all over the globe and they trade with everyone. America themselves import hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil from Russia. They’re not going to give that up. The VAST wealth they hold effectively means they don’t care about any sanction regimen against the state, especially when they can just turn around and trade with China.

    Finally it should be stated that nato are the aggressors here, famously violating their pledge to not move one inch eastward, now talking about welcoming Ukraine into the fold, on Russia’s doorstep. As Putin has said they have no where to retreat.

    As far as the NDP, it would appear all three parties are under the influence of the OUN-B, not a shock to see but certainly an outrageous disappointment.

    1. As pointed out on twitter yesterday Desjarlais literally has a waffen SS memorial in his riding, there’s a huge ukrofascist diaspora in Canada, Edmonton being one of their strongholds.

    2. OUN-B, no less! Nobody in Canada dares to put together the reality of the Galician Nazis! Those cats were so nuts that when the US had them in DP camps in Austria and tried to harness their insanity for the anti-communist crusade, they started murdering each other. The Americans gave them uniforms and allowed them to form little para-military groups in the camps, and the first thing they did was hold trials to go after Quislings in their own group. You can’t make this stuff up. They proved to be too nuts for the nascent CIA, but MI6, the most flexible of any of the Imperial spooks, started parachuting OUN-B freaks into the Soviet Union to conduct terrorist operations. (Sorry, Chrystia Freeland. Freedom and democracy operations!) MI-6 helped settle the survivors of SS Divison Galicia in Canada. There has been much work done to sanitize those folks, as well as the SS troopers from the Latvian countries, but not to the extent of the Ukronazis. Glory to the heroes! The NDP has long been subverted by the Imperial militarists. They back the racist colonial project in Israel when it counts, and have no problem with “the only good Russian is a dead one” as a foreign policy cornerstone. Tommy Douglas loved him some Zionist terrorists. He travelled to the Holy Land and thought their budding apartheid state, on land taken from the Arabs, was just the model for Canada.
      There is no reason whatsoever that the Russians would move into Ukraine at this point. They kept the Donbass Republics alive via asymmetrical assistance in 2014-15, and it is absurd to think that they would be goaded into an invasion now. The Americans seem to think Putin is on a par with Saddam Hussein, but maybe Putin had access to television and saw how that played out for the last “new Hitler” in 1990.

      OUN-B! I’m rolling on the floor laughing out loud!

      1. The Bandera lobby is the dominant faction of Ukrainian nationalists in North America. Moss Robenson has done some excellent reporting on this for many years, including being featured in an episode of the alberta advantage.

  13. Either the one percent wealthiest on the planet are incredibly good at convincing the ninety nine percent to hate and kill each other or it’s just ridiculously easy. And humans look like they’re going to reach eight billion this year unless…

  14. The Ukraine
    This is Western media and government generated disinformation to get a consensus to commit the next atrocity with our approval .
    mental discernment, and situational analysis in humans is highly over rated
    especially with unqualified elected officials and in the comment section
    we seldom get beyond our own biases and selected information
    to get a true picture
    on the other hand
    I am sure we all remember jason kenny minister of national defence.
    yelling at Russian jet fighters (from ottawa)
    for buzzing Canadian military ships encroaching on Russian waters
    or harpers support of the overthrow of the former elected Ukrainian government
    to install a more western leaning group

  15. Politicians will do the brand of governing they always do. The definition being, get what you want and make somebody else pay for it. Because if their jurisdictions have to have a reckoning, they probably arent doing anything, otherwise of course they will be fired next election.

    You know, like climate change. It seems like alot of Canadians are on board with fighting climate change, but only if it costs them less than $100 per year individually.

    That said, steel that is produced in Regina has very little to do with Russia one way or the other. Corporations may be owned by people in Russia, but its where the jobs are that is important.

  16. The Empire is not going to war in the Ukraine. Pooty-poot has his job for the same reasons that the Mullahs have theirs in Iran. It’s the best alternative to socialism. The neoliberal destruction after the Nomenklatura handed the USSR over to American speculators proved so bad that the US was going to lose control of Russia to the evil Reds. A nationalist government was preferable to a communist one. “Free markets” were a hard-sell to the Russians when the US takeover resulted in a reduction in lifespans, so the US helped install a militarized government instead. The Empire would be pleased if their Atlanticist puppets could take over Russia, but it just can’t work for them.
    When the Russian security forces rolled into Kazakhstan two weeks ago they were not going in to protect Kazkhstan from the Americans. The usual suspects from the NATO countries own the Kazhak hydrocarbon industry lock, stock and barrel.
    Putin basically works for the Americans, in an uncomfortable bargain.

    1. Hey Murph,

      Some interesting points there. The idea that the religious monarchy in Iran is in there because the alternative would have been socialism may be not far off the mark.

      It’s also interesting to speculate what would have happened to Russia if Vladimir Putin had not come along. I think/fear that the neoliberal destruction as you call it would have continued until it was irreversible, at least without another revolution like 1917. But possibly not – until VVP came along the Communist Party of Russia were winning the highest popular vote and the most seats in the parliament. To this day they have garnered the second highest vote % next to VVP’s party. Maybe eventually the Communist Party would have won control of the parliament and the presidency by a democratic election! But I think that is your point.

      Remember, that when you read about Putin’s authoritarian suppression of opposition, his main opposition is the Communist Party of Russia.

      1. Mickey: At the risk of being pedantic about a metaphorical point, Saudi Arabia has a religious monarchy; Iran has a theocratic head of state and an elected parliament. I personally more inclined to think that the United States would have toppled the mullahs at the head of Iran if it could have gotten away with it, but that elements in the Pentagon realized that the U.S. could not win that war. Admiral Mike Mullen springs to mind, who probably prevented a war that would be still under way at great cost in American lives today. Now we all know that the U.S. couldn’t even defeat the Taliban, a low grade insurgency compared to what would have happened in Iran. And the Americans have us convinced they could defeat the Russian armed forces defending their own territory and have the boys all home by Christmas? Insanity. DJC

        1. Your assessment of the current state of Iran is likely pretty accurate. However, in 1979 circumstances were not the same. The CIA absolutely fostered the implementation of Khomeini and Friends once it became evident that the country, which was essentialy a clearing house for British and American arms manufacturers funded by the sale of hydrocarbons, was likely to slip from the US orbit. It was a choice between Mullahs and socialists. Today, if the planets aligned, the US would likely be content to have Libyan-style mayhem in Iran, but they do not have the juice to induce that kind of break-down. Launching Saddam at the Iranians immediately following the Islamic “revolution” seems to have accidentally produced a rather hardy state, regardless of how much the average Persian actually cares for or about the government.

  17. All the yip yaps keen on taking Russia on and sanctioning them even further seem remarkably uninformed

    Russia produces about 8 mbpd of various crude oils and fuels made from natural gas like clean diesel. Most of it goes to Europe, but anyone with Google can see about 10% of the USA’s diesel comes directly from Russia.

    Ukraine has a natural gas pipeline running from Russia through its territory to Western Europe. Ukraine has constantly stolen natural gas from the pipeline and not paid for it. Easy to read about it on Wikipedia.

    Russia has amassed foreign reserves of $700 billion mostly in gold bullion by requesting many payments in the metal. being dumped from the SWIFT electronics payments system the US runs worldwide holds no terrors. Their attitude is — you want petroleum? You quit the nonsense about sanctions. Plus the Chinese will happlily prop them up, and together they’re working on their own electronics payment system anyway.

    Russia has hypersonic missiles, the US has none.

    Russia is the world’s largest exporter of grain.

    Ukraine has never paid back any “loans” from the West or the IMF in the last 20 years. The place is bankrupt.

    Blankenhead seems to think the the US is dealing from a position of power and issues threats that amount to but a small hill of beans. Why the US wants to prop up a corrupt Ukraine is beyond me, other than historically they side on dictators/right-wingers who are tame for US overseas businesses. Chile, Brazil, Indonesia, the banana republics etc, etc.

    If the US or NATO decide to get “heavy” with Russia, the export of oil and natural gas gets turned off overnight. Then the Europeans get to discover if the US cares one iota about them. “F**k the EU!” was Victoria Nuland’s notorious response to EU objections about the CIA sponsored right wing revolution in Ukraine in 2014. Russia had a 30 year lease on the naval port of Sevastopol from the previous Ukraine government and when the troubles started, they simply annexed all Crimea, not trusting that the new Ukrainian government propped up by the US wouldn’t kick them out. And over 80% of Crimeans were ethnic Russians anyway and apparently preferred to be governed by Russia than by the utterly shambolic Ukrainians in Kiev.

    I agree that Russia won’t invade Ukraine because who wants to ride herd on 32 million complainers and pay for their upkeep? Let the West foot the bill and keep the fractiousness down if they can is their attitude. That might well change if the Ukrainians turn on the ethnic Russians in the Donbass. Then the country would be cut in two in about three days and the US/NATO would be powerless to stop them. Cowboy captains in US and British naval vessels that ventured into the Black Sea, if they fired any weapons whatsoever in support of Ukraine, would meet an ugly end in about ten minutes from hypersonic missiles. Then what? US Glory and nuclear war?

    Apparently few here read any alternative press or blogs from diplomat ex- employees of embassies in Russia like Patrick Armstrong of Canada or Gilbert Doctorow of Belgium. Read their commentary and soon the way things are starts to make sense, unlike the tripe we’re fed. That utter guff we are dished up by our Global Affairs people and the US about Russian power being weak is amazing. It’s the other way around militarily for a land war on Russia’s border and on the Black Sea. Of course, kenney and Canadian Cons are pre-programmed to get it wrong on everything including this issue. So that just leaves the Liberals and NDP as complete twits of foreign affairs as well. We citizens are not given the truth, and we thus wander around feeling cocksure about our being able to beat Russia blindfolded and with one arm tied behind our backs, when there’s no reason to be smug whatsoever. China has hypersonic anti-ship missiles as well. The West? None.

    Russia has the EU by the gonads. Does the US care about sky-high energy prices in the EU that exist even right now? Will it pursue its threats, sanctions and domination policy against Russia just because the plutocracy says so and provoke a European depression when Rusia turns off the petro tap? What will America itself do about a shortage of low sulphur diesel fuel? Commit suicide, that’s what. But they’d apparently rather issue empty threats and try to deke out the Russkies with low grade “cunning” than recognize reality. It would spoil their “face” and world-standing if they did, they believe. Better to let a whole bunch of people get killed than trying to find accommodation and peace.

    I must admit, when the TV news gets onto the Ukraine issue these days, i turn the volume off. We’re being kept like mushrooms, fed shite, and made to pound our chests in patriotic fervour for no good reason whatsoever but the convenience of the extremely wealthy and Ms Freeland, whose ancestors came from Ukraine in questionable circumstances, and whose Mom also has a nice apartment in the Maidan in Kiev.

    Russia’s certainly not flawless, but when you are encircled by US missiles up to Ukraine, you have a red line too. The US just refuses to recognize that, and presumably thinks telling Russia off and bullying it into submission is all it has to do to make them back down. Therein lies the rub. They’ll get their clock cleaned if they goad Rusia to breaking point. But being American, apparently they feel confident in doing so. I regard them as utterly stupid, but that’s my take.

    I didn’t even mention the tsunami bombs the Russians have stationed off the US coasts, the unmanned silent atomic sub killers, their super quiet subs the US and we cannot reliably track, and an anti-aircraft/missile system that works so well, both Turkey and India have purchased systems, not to mention the Chinese. But hey, go on living on Cloud Nine of you think we have Russia cornered.

    1. An excellent summary. I agree with pretty well everything said here, except for the bit about the RN and USN surviving in the Black Sea for 10 minutes of the balloon went up. Not a chance. Three minutes more like.

    2. We all saw what happened in Texas when their natural gas got shut off, imagine the carnage when it’s the entire country of Germany, in winter.

      The head of their navy resigned this week because he was like, fuck this, you all are insane.

      Canadian politicians are playing an idiots game right now. By looking at these clowns it’s hard to believe any of our leaders ever stood up to the Washington consensus.

    3. Well Bill, I was going to post something on here but didn’t because you’ve pretty much said it all. Good analysis… I think Rocky is correct though, they won’t have 10 minutes. Boris’ destroyer off Crimea probably had less than a minute if she had fired anything larger than a rifle.

  18. Politicians holding up signs reading “Protect the Ukraine” or “Defend the Ukraine” are just as bad as those who wearing the hockey jersey of the lone Canadian team still in the playoffs.

    Fair weather fans at best, fans of convenience at the worst.

    It’s always best to keep quiet about such things, as the consequences are inestimable. One very bad day and everyone will pay.

  19. Opponents of standing up for Ukraine against Putin’s Russia — including, on occasion, our host here — often cite the deep veins of anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi sympathies within the Ukrainian body politic. I don’t pretend to be well-enough informed to either refute or support those assertions, but IMHO, they are irrelevant. Ukraine remains a sovereign country, and Russia has no business invading it without genuine provocation.

    That said, you also have to see it from the Russian point of view. Russians have a long historical memory of being invaded by foreign armies: from Napoleon’s in the early 19th century… to the Kaiser’s in 1914… to the western democracies supporting the White Army during the Russian Civil War of 1918-20… to, of course, Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa in 1941. This was thought by many observers to to be the real reason why Stalin wanted to establish Soviet spheres of influence in Eastern Europe after the ends of the Second World War.

    Since the collapse of the USSR and the end of the Cold War in 1991, many former Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact satellites have gradually been brought into the West’s orbit and have been admitted into NATO — whose very raison d’être was, and is, to counter the Soviet and then Russian “threat”. So, it’s not unreasonable for the Russians to be feeling encircled in Europe.

    Clearly, though, while Putin has sabre-rattled before over NATO’s eastward expansion, he clearly feels having Ukraine join is a red line he will not allow to be crossed. But NATO’s refusal to guarantee Ukraine will never be admitted into the alliance means that both sides are bellied right up to that red line; all that it would take would be for one side or the other to step a toe over it and all hell will break loose.

    This is one of the most challenging geopolitical crises of our time. There are no right or wrong decisions here … only the “least worst” ones.

      1. I didn’t say it was immaterial in general … just that it was irrelevant to whether or not Russia is justified in invading. The world has tolerated both fascist and communist dictatorships, and authoritarian absolute monarchies, and just plain non-ideological autocracies, for centuries, and by & large we don’t invade them until & unless they become a threat to their neighbours. Of course, there have been exceptions — “Operation Iraqi Freedom” (boy, there’s a misnomer for you) being the most obvious recent example — but that tends to be the general rule.

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